The assessment center in practice
Reading Time of Article: 5 min
You’ve found the perfect candidate, and following a number of interviews with them, you’d like to take the process further. So, what about running an assessment center? What actually lies behind the title? Following on from personality tests, assessment centers reached French shores in the 1980s. This innovative approach produced a new generation of human resources departments with a strategic vision and the desire to be fairer and more open in the talent-seeking process. The assessment center is simply an assessment method that uses two basic techniques:
– observation of a person in their professional environment, i.e. when they are working.
– measurement of the gap between the behaviour exhibited by a (future) employee and the behaviour expected of them in a particular role. It’s essentially an assessment platform.
What to Do Before an Assessment Center?
Each part of the assessment is tailor-made and is based on the profile being sought, the requirements of the position, etc. At Apostrof, our consultants work with our clients to select the skills on which they want their (future) employees assessed. Candidates don’t have to do any advance preparation because the preparation time is included in the time allowed for the exercise. Anyway, it’s almost impossible to prepare because every situation is different. Each ‘case’ progresses differently. Assessments usually take no more than a day to complete, though in some cases they can last for several days. Assessments as part of a recruitment procedure are generally condensed so that they take no more than half a day. This is so that they don’t take up too much of the work time of executives or senior managers currently in a job.
How does an assessment center actually work?
Assessments take the form of simulation exercises. These exercises focus on behaviour. But there’s nothing to fear – all the situations used resemble everyday situations in the life of a company. All that’s different is that the candidate is in a different working environment from their current one. The aim of the game is to observe behaviour rather than special technical knowledge. Assessments are not tests of how much people know. The assessors are only interested in interpersonal communication skills, transverse or line management skills, etc. The aim is to assess the candidate’s ability to cope with a new and complex subject and to analyse the situation, set priorities and sort out problems. The candidate will therefore be given instructions as well as different documents to deal with and analyse.What happens next depends on what the candidate does. These assessments always involve situations that are quite tricky to deal with. But there are no catches. In situations of intense stress, candidates stop behaving naturally, which would affect the validity of the assessment.
What comes After an Assessment Center?
Following exercises of varying degrees of difficulty comes the moment of freedom! A face-to-face feedback meeting is held with the organiser of the assessment. The discussions that take place enable both parties to understand more about key elements of each session. For the company, a written summary of the assessment provides a record of the verbal feedback given on these elements.
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